A disease killing swaths of citrus trees in Florida is causing billions of dollars in damage and affecting thousands of jobs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told CNBC on Friday.
"It's extraordinarily serious," Vilsack said on "Squawk on the Street." "We're seeing a significant reduction in productivity in the Florida citrus crop. It's billions of dollars in loss. Thousands of jobs are being impacted and affected."
The Department of Agriculture announced Thursday the creation of an "emergency response framework" to keep citrus greening disease from destroying the stat'es citrus crop and potentially spreading to the rest of the country.
"First and foremost, we need to quarantine and stop the spread," Vilsack said, adding that the disease has caused a 9 percent reduction in the productivity of Florida's $9 billion citrus industry.
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